cover_logo
Think Safe

Want to receive the digital edition of the Nautical News?
Press the button below.

SUBSCRIBE

Think Safe

A 2019 report on mariner mental health produced some noteworthy results – 25% of respondents reported that they had experienced bouts of depression in the prior two weeks and 17 percent had struggled with anxiety.

Seafarers have always faced the challenges of life onboard. Yet the CoVid-19 pandemic has presented even further difficulties, as seafarers must now cope with crew change restrictions and pandemic-related stressors at home.

SMT is committed to the physical and psychological health of all our seafarers - the following are some good practices that might help.

What’s Good for the Body is Good for the Mind

A balanced diet, regular exercise, and an appropriate amount of rest are critical to general fitness. and they are equally important for mental and emotional health. Seafarers need to treat their bodies with the same care and dedication that they apply to their work. The health of our crewmembers is absolutely our company’s most precious resource.

Stay Connected

Social connection improves physical health and mental well-being. One landmark study published in Science magazine in 1988 showed that social isolation is a greater risk to health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure. On the other hand, strong social connections were shown to help fight off infections, recover from illnesses faster, and increase lifespans. It is particularly important in this era of physical distancing to maintain our connections to colleagues, friends, and family – whether that be in person or online.

Find Meaning in Your Work

Veteran SMT Master and Supercargo Capt. Jacek Wisniewski explains that, “In order to successfully divide your life between land and sea, you will need to believe that you are doing what you want to do. I think people who decide to spend their life at sea are dreamers -- sailors imagine adventures that are larger than the scale of a land-based life”. Studies indicate that individuals who derive meaning and satisfaction from their work have a lower instance of workplace stress.

Positive Attitudes Make A Difference

For Capt. Wisniewski, maintaining a positive atmosphere is a fundamental way to ease mental strain onboard: “Just simple gestures like a smile , a thumbs-up, a handshake, or a word of thank you for a job well done” have an enormous impact on the mental resilience of crewmembers.

Know When to Seek Help

Despite all best efforts, the strains stemming from these extraordinary times may require the help of outside professionals. Fortunately, there are many confidential and no-cost resources available for crewmembers in need of mental health professionals.

Some examples include:

  • Seafarer Help is a service provided by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network. This is a free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers and their families available 24 hours, 365 days a year.
  • Mind Call is a website that supports the mental health and wellbeing of seafarers at sea. They offer a dedicated hotline available around the clock and throughout the year.
  • Big White Wall is a digital mental health support service that connects callers to mental health professionals 24/7 with fully anonymity and privacy.


Sustainability

SMT is excited to announce its decision to align its sustainability initiatives with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Sustainable Development Goals were created at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.

The objective was to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world. As the UN Development Program explains, “All 17 Goals interconnect, meaning success in one effects success for others. Dealing with the threat of climate change impacts how we manage our fragile natural resources, achieving gender equality or better health helps eradicate poverty, and fostering peace and inclusive societies will reduce inequalities and help economies prosper. In short, this is the greatest chance we have to improve life for future generations”.

While SMT Shipping has much work to do to deepen our commitment to the SDGs, we are already heavily involved in programs that address this important global initiative:

Goal 4: Quality Education

SMT Shipping is a firm supporter of global education, both in the local communities in which it operates and in the shipping industry as a whole.  The company is very proud of its extensive cadet training program which provides sea training to maritime students from such countries as Trinidad & Tobago, Russia, Mexico, Poland, Ukraine, Guinea, and Ghana.  Students receive extensive on the job training as well as access to SMT’s shore-based employees through periodic e-learning opportunities.  Scholarship funds are also available in some cases.

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

SMT hires local professionals wherever possible to provide the company with local area knowledge and to deepen its ties with local communities.  Each SMT office throughout the world is managed by a local resident rather than an expatriate.

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

SMT’s core mission is to provide logistical support for industrial materials largely used in the construction of industry and infrastructure.  Past projects include laying of underwater cable, the construction of highways and bridges, and the development of airports and piers. SMT’s self-loading/self-discharging vessels do not require the use of shore-based equipment, which allows the SMT fleet to operate in localities that have minimal land and port facilities.  Consequently, SMT is frequently involved in work that provides critically needed infrastructure development to local municipalities.

Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

SMT builds strong community partnerships to reduce economic, social, and environmental inequality, both in its trading areas and in the home nations of its seafarers.  The company has been very active in numerous charitable initiatives in these jurisdictions, ranging from disaster relief to health care to primary education and school construction.

Goal 14: Life Below Water

SMT engages in a number of initiatives that support the world’s marine ecosystems.  These include, but are not limited to, the strict use of low Sulphur marine fuel, the management of eco-friendly vessels, the maintenance of strict garbage management procedures, and the installation of Ballast Water Treatment systems throughout its bulker fleet.